Loop-to-Loop Standard versus Bite Tippets

Angling Tip: Loop-to-Loop Connections

An Easy Way to Handle Tippet (Bite and Standard) Changes

One of the advantages of fishing New England coastal waters is you get to chase both stripers and bluefish—sometimes even on the same day. But the two require different leader-to-tippet rigging, which can be a real pain in the butt when you’re out onto the water. How many times have you been hunting for stripers only to have a toothy bluefish whack your 15lb striper tippet and bite you off? And how many times have you cast a bite tippet rig to what you though were blitzing blues, only to have a school-sized striped bass take your fly, clearly signaling you’re into stripers not blues—in fact, this probably means you just missed some bigger fish that are more leader smart than the juveniles. Either way you need to change your terminal rigging fast. Here’s one way to make it quick and easy using loop-to-loop connections.

Rig Both Ahead of Time

Before you head out, prepare some standard striper (non-bite) tippets using your preferred choice of materials and pound-test choices (I like 18-inch lengths of fluorocarbon in 15lb for smaller fish and 20lb for larger fish; I will also drop to 15lb or even smaller tippet for times when the water is clear and fish are spooky. Then tie a loop (the Surgeon’s loop is fast and secure) in one end of each of them. I make the loop large enough so I can easily pass my fly through it to complete a loop-to-loop connection, usually 1" to 2” long. Store the finished rigs in a plastic sleeve or tube.

A pre-tied striper tippet rig complete with fly can be added to a loop on the end of your leader in a few seconds with a loop-to-loop connection.


Secondly, tie up a few bluefish bite tippet rigs, again in whatever material and size you prefer (I usually use 8 inches of 20lb fluorocarbon for the non-bite part and 6 to 10 inches of 60lb or 80lb Ande nylon mono for the heavy bite section (I go to 80lb bites for bigger coastal blues versus the smaller snapper blues in rivers and estuaries when I use 60lb). I join the bite tippet to the smaller tippet using a Slim Beauty Knot and then tie a long Surgeon’s loop in the non-bite end of each of them and store these in another plastic sleeve or tube.

You can also quickly add a pre-tied bluefish rig complete with bite tippet and fly to the same loop on the end of your leader with a loop-to-loop connection.

Quick Switch On the Water

As you head out onto the water, tie a small loop in the end of your rod’s leader. Then, pull out one of your pre-tied bluefish bite tippets and tie a striper fly onto it. Do the same with one of your striper non-bite tippets. Next, based on whether you think you are more likely to find bass or blues, attach the appropriate the striper rig or bluefish rig including the fly in loop-to-loop fashion to your leader’s end loop. If you hook up and have chosen the right terminal rigging for the day—keep fishing! If not, un-loop the tippet with your fly still connected, and replace it loop-to-loop with the correct one and fish away!

Loop-to-loop connections are strong, fast and easy.  Make the loop about 2” long so you can pass a fly through it to complete the connection.

Now, apart from changing fly patterns, you can fish all day switching back and forth between bluefish and striper rigs without tying a knot. And if one of your terminal rigs gets damaged, just connect another from your pre-tied stash and keep fishing! Next time we’ll take a step-by-step look at the slim Beauty knot—easy-to-tie knot for joining your standard tippet to a heavy bite tippet.

—Dick Brown